Hawaii missile alert was intentional due to misunderstanding says FCC

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

At a briefing this morning on the state's internal investigation false alarm, state officials announced one employee has been terminated, one has resigned and a third has been suspended without pay. Gen. Arthur Logan during the press conference Tuesday on the findings of their independent investigation.

The FCC report said the emergency management worker thought the state was under attack and sent out the warning that sent residents into panic.

He added that the employee who erroneously set off the missile alarm was sacked Friday. "He is unable to comprehend the situation at hand". "With respect to inadequate safeguards, most importantly, there were no procedures in place to prevent a single person from mistakenly sending a missile alert to the state of Hawaii".

The FCC also adopted updates to the system in 2016 that require carriers to let messages be sent in multiple languages. But the FCC's report reveals that the individual who pushed that button didn't think it was the wrong move at the time and instead believed a practice emergency drill was, in fact, the real thing.

After the midnight supervisor told the incoming supervisor about the plan to conduct a ballistic missile preparedness drill, the day supervisor thought the drill was only going to apply to the night shift, leading to the lack of supervision.

The employee said he did not hear the "exercise, exercise, exercise" part of the message and believed the threat was real and issued the alert.

In its preliminary report of the incident, the FCC said that part of the call the staff member heard "did not follow the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency's standard operating procedures".

In reality it was a awful, less understandable mistake in which the guy didn't listen carefully enough to a drill message and concluded that a real attack was in progress.

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NAYLOR: The FCC report did not identify the warning officer, and state officials today wouldn't name him or her until the worker's appeals process is complete.

The updated explanation for the error contradicts earlier statements made by top Hawaii officials, including the spokesperson for the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, who said, "In this case, the operator selected the wrong menu option".

"While other warning officers understand that this is a drill, the warning officer at the alert origination terminal claimed to believe, in a written statement provided to HI-EMA [Emergency Management Agency] that this was a real emergency, not a drill", the FCC said. The rest of the team said they knew it was a drill so it's safe to say it was a brown-pants-moment for pretty much everyone.

Hawaii Governor David Ige.

Slides shared by the FCC (PDF) conclude that "a combination of human error and inadequate safeguards contributed to the transmission of this false alert" and that "HI-EMA has taken steps created to ensure that an incident such as this never happens again".

Despite being prefaced by language indicating it was an exercise, an emergency message intended as a drill for staff at the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency was incorrectly interpreted as real, leading the agency spread the false alarm about a missile attack that caused widespread panic throughout the islands on January 13.

A little over two weeks ago, the people of Hawaii woke up to a horrifying message: "BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT IN BOUND TO HAWAII". The local authority apologized for the false emergency alert, which had caused panic cross the islands and on social media platforms. He forgot his Twitter password, the report stated.

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